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26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Côte d'Azur
(AzurAlive) ISBN 0979279623 978-0979279621

We want to pack our bags, packsacks and hiking shoes for a trip to Southern France. This trail guide shows readers that the region is much more than resorts lining the coast.

It provides hikers with trail descriptions for 26 one-hour to half-day walking trails in France's Mediterranean Côte d'Azur province. The Var department has more than 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) of marked trails for all levels of experience. For each one, the guidebook provides illustrated maps and information on attractions, flora, fauna, history and geology.

Best weather

In the introduction to this 150-page paperback, readers learn that the best time to hike in the Western Côte d'Azur is May, June, September and October. The guide provides temperatures and information on rain and mistral winds for each season. A table grades routes by easy and medium difficulty categories, and includes round-trip time, distance and terrain elevation.

Well-organized trail summaries include how to get there, routes, terrain (e.g., mountain, forest, coast, lagoon and gorge) and things to see and do (e.g., ancient ruins, medieval stone villages and panoramic views) with useful contacts for more information.

Trail maps

More than 100 color photos of scenery, vegetation, villages and attractions illustrate the book. Symbols for the 32 color route maps locate castles, forts, churches, mountain peaks, panoramic view points, car parking and ferry boat locations.

Appendices list sports stores in the Western Côte d'Azur, local tourist information offices, bus and ferry boat companies and a website for Météo France Weather Forecast. (Note: many of the tourist information offices organize group walks with staff from the National Forestry Office (National des Forets/ONF).

Bird watching

26 Gorgeous Hikes on the Western Côte d'Azur describes five great walks for families with children: Cap du Dramont, Lac de l'Ecureuil, Cap Taillat, Porquerolles and Ancient Millstones.

The two-hour Villepey Lagoons hike, between the St. Aygulf beach and the town of Fréjus, brings walkers on a loop around the marshes. From paths, boardwalks, trails and bridges, you can view more than 220 birds, including pink flamingos. The guidebook describes a bird-watching hide from where you can spot gray herons.

After the descriptions, Asides provide information on Western Côte d'Azur highlights, such as the cork oak tree. You learn how to identify a cork oak tree, the uses of cork, how it is harvested from the tree and how cork is processed. Useful contacts direct readers to the Eco-Musée du Liege (Cork Museum of Gonfaron) and the phone, email and website of La Garde-Freinet Tourist Office for guided tours.


  • Introduction
    • Why hike on vacation?
    • Who are the hikes for?
    • What are the hiking paths like?
    • When should I go?
    • What should I bring?
    • A word on responsible hiking
  • Hikes
    • The Estérel Mountain Range: Reach panoramic vistas over the Mediterranean
      • Pic de l'Ours
      • Pic du Cap Roux
      • Lac de l'Ecureuil
      • Cap du Dramont
      • Mont Vinaigre
    • Around St. Raphaël and Fréjus: Hike along sights shaped by water
      • The Malpasset Dam
      • Ancient Millstones
      • The Blavet Gorges
      • The Villepey Lagoons
      • Roquebrune-sur-Argens
    • The St. Tropez Peninsula: Discover the St. Tropez Peninsula's wild side
      • The St. Tropez Peninsula
      • Cap Camarat
      • Cap Taillat
      • Cap Lardier
    • The Maures Mountain Range: Explore natural treasures hidden within a sea of forests
      • Col du Bougnon
      • La Garde-Freinet: Roches Blanches
      • La Garde-Freinet: Fort Freinet
      • Chartreuse de la Verne
      • Bormes-les-Mimosas
    • Around Hyères: Walk in the golden glitter of the Provence Azur region
      • Port-Cros: Sentier des Plantes
      • Port-Cros: Sentier des Crétes
      • Porquerolles, East Hike
      • Porquerolles, West Hike
      • Giens Peninsula, West Side
      • Mont Fenouillet
      • Dolmen de Gaoutabry
  • Asides
    • The Stoechas Lavender
    • The Cork Oak
    • The Estérellite
    • The Giant Grass
    • Posidonia
    • Conservatoire du Littoral
    • Hiking Under Water
    • Conservatoire Botanique de Porquerolles
    • Salins de Pesquiers
  • Appendix A: Local Sports Stores
  • Appendix B: Useful Contacts
  • Stay in Touch
  • Index


Florence Chatzigianis, a member of the Fédération Française de Randonnée Pédestre (French Hiking Association), spent 10 years researching trails in Southern France.

More things to see and do in France:

Rediscovering Paris - Ile de France

Provence & the Côte d'Azur

Paris Restaurants

Northern France Tours

A Piano in The Pyrenees

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